|By: Paul S. Cilwa||Viewed: 5/24/2022
||Page Views: 14136|
|My personal life…don't read about it if you don't want to know about it!|
I once met a man who was in his nineties, and still lived in the house in which he was born. He had never traveled outside his county in Nebraska, had never wanted to, and still did what he had done all his life: work the farm he'd inherited from his father.
If he's at one end of the spectrum of human experience, I might well be at the other. I've been married to a woman and to men (at different times); been a father to four and a grandfather to five (so far). I've been a radio DJ, a sailor, a truck driver, an instructor, a ditch-digger (for one day—that was enough), a computer programmer and a writer. Oh, and an actor and a lifeguard—and an aficionado of camping and whitewater rafting. I've visited almost twenty countries (again, so far), and been in an alien spacecraft. I've gone from being a Catholic to exploring various religions until finding that "spiritual, not religious" works best for me.
In this section of my site you'll find some of the history and people that led me along these roads and made me the man I am today.
(For details on the places I've been, check out my Travel section.)
My autobiographical essays are not yet complete. But you may use the following links to get to them in chronological order, if you wish.
And Then I Was Born…
|By: Paul S. Cilwa||Occurred: 4/8/1951 7:05:00 PM
||Topics: #Autobiography #Clifton #NewJersey #StyertowneApartmentsMilestone: #Birth||Page Views: 129|
|My babyhood in Clifton, New Jersey.|
|Who:||Paul Sigmund Cilwa|
|Date and time:||April 8, 1951 7:05 PM|
|Where:||Mountainside Hospital, Glen Ridge, New Jersey|
|Father:||Walter Sigimund Cilwa|
|Mother:||Edna Mae (Brown) Cilwa|
My First Sibling
|By: Paul S. Cilwa||Occurred: 6/19/1952
||Topics: #Autobiography #Clifton #NewJersey #StyertowneApartmentsMilestone: #Residence||Page Views: 140|
|I get a baby sister.|
My First Move
|By: Paul S. Cilwa||Occurred: 9/1/1952
||Topics: #Autobiography #Clifton #NewJersey #StyertowneApartmentsMilestone: #Residence||Page Views: 4468|
|We move into my father's factory.|
The White Dream
|By: Paul S. Cilwa||Occurred: 12/1/1952
||Topics: #AlienAbductions #Autobiography||Page Views: 4060|
|An early nightmare…or alien abduction?|
Sometime before my third year, something happened that I remember, though out of context. That is, it happened, and I remember it too clearly to be a dream; but I have no lead-in memory and no lead-out memory.
|By: Paul S. Cilwa||Occurred: 11/1/1953
||Topics: #Autobiography #GrandmaJohnson||Page Views: 4052|
|Who WAS that woman, anyway??!|
After the birth of my sister, Louise, a person known as Grandma Johnson came into my life. She was a woman from "the old country" (Sweden) whose daughter-in-law had thrown her out of the house. My dad, with the soft heart I've inherited, took her into our home with the idea that she could help my mother care for her growing brood of children.
The Toy Box
|By: Paul S. Cilwa||Occurred: 6/1/1955
||Topics: #Autobiography||Page Views: 3971|
|Toy boxes should not lock.|
My father had given me an antique sailor's trunk, with the year 1911 carved into it, to use as a toy box. I had it in my room and it was pretty packed with Lincoln Logs, model train pieces, stuffed animals, and the like.
|By: Paul S. Cilwa||Occurred: 12/25/1956
||Topics: #Autobiography||Page Views: 4044|
|Four-year-olds don't necessarily know when to come in out of the cold.|
Now, I had done this before. Forbidden to cross the street, no one had told me I couldn't go all the way around the block. One by one, I had knocked on the neighbors' doors and asked them if they had a record player and, if so, could I see it? Most had invited me in, given me cookies and milk, and allowed me to choose a record to listen to. In this way, I had discovered there were such things as automatic record changers, and long-playing records that rotated incredibly slowly but played beautifully.
The Gift Of Music
|By: Paul S. Cilwa||Occurred: 3/1/1956
||Topics: #Autobiography #Music||Page Views: 4067|
|How my dad gave me the most precious thing I own.|
My father loved music, and one of the first things he got me was a wind-up, "portable" phonograph. That was followed by an electric combination record player and radio, and then an RCA player for the new 45-RPM records.
|By: Paul S. Cilwa||Occurred: 4/8/1956
||Topics: #AlienAbductions #Autobiography||Page Views: 4190|
|And then I was visited by an alien…|
It was weeks later, and I had been put to bed on a normal, uneventful, night. However, I awoke in terror to find my room lit by a strange, blue light that glowed from the living room visible through my open door. Between the door and my bed, clearly silhouetted in the doorway, was a tall, angular figure, hooded and gray. To me, it looked like a statue; so I thought the Blessed Virgin was in my bedroom…and it did not belong there. I was terrified, and tried to scream for Mom—only to discover I was also paralyzed.
Mommy's Little Helper
|By: Paul S. Cilwa||Occurred: 6/1/1956
||Topics: #Autobiography||Page Views: 4027|
|How I stumbled on a method to avoid doing chores for the rest of my life.|
I put the four items into the sink—I had to stand on a chair to reach it—but what I really wanted to do was mix cleaning products. So I got the egg beater and pitcher, half-filled it with warm water, and started adding every thing I could find: Surf, Spic 'n Span, hand soap; I even poured in a little shampoo from the bathroom. I then used the egg beater to blend it all to a nice, frothy, consistency.
The Time I Ran Away
|By: Paul S. Cilwa||Occurred: 6/1/1956
||Topics: #Autobiography||Page Views: 4077|
|Typical of me, I wasn't really running AWAY…I was running TO.|
My father took me for a walk, one day, and we reached the top of a hill just as the sun was setting. I had asked where Disneyland was, and my father pointed in the direction of the setting sun. Of course, he meant "west" but I thought he meant, just over the next hill.
|By: Paul S. Cilwa||Occurred: 12/25/1956
||Topics: #Autobiography #Christmas||Page Views: 4803|
|How to teach a kindergarten student to distrust authority.|
As the year drew to an end it grew cold and snow fell on the ground. When we wanted to go out Mommy bundled us up in garments called "snowsuits" that were basically full body armor filled with down. They were supposed to keep the cold out; I believe they would have stopped an AK-47 slug as well. When they were on, every part of our bodies were covered, even our mouths, thanks to the woolen scarf that had been wrapped around us prior to the enveloping by the suit. Then came mittens (which prevented us from using our fingers) and rubber boots (which just about prevented us from walking). Once we'd been safely insulated, Mommy would open the door and allow us to go outside.
|By: Paul S. Cilwa||Occurred: 9/10/1957
||Topics: #Autobiography #EducationMilestone: #Education||Page Views: 3896|
|I did not like my first-grade teacher.|
|By: Paul S. Cilwa||Occurred: 9/9/1957
||Topics: #Autobiography #EducationMilestone: #Education||Page Views: 1713|
|I am thrown into the educational system.|
That Time We Moved To Vermont
|By: Paul S. Cilwa||Occurred: 6/1/1958
||Topics: #Autobiography #Vermont #VictoryMilestone: #Residence||Page Views: 8118|
|Rural life in the 1950s.|
|Milestone:||Change of Residence|
|Address:||1291 River Road, Victory, Vermont|
|By: Paul S. Cilwa||Occurred: 9/8/1958
||Topics: #Autobiography #EducationMilestone: #Education||Page Views: 3826|
|My continuing education.|
|Teacher:||Mrs. Alice McGinnis|
Farewell, My Father
|By: Paul S. Cilwa||Occurred: 11/11/1958
||Topics: #Autobiography #WalterS.CilwaMilestone: #Death||Page Views: 4065|
|At 7 years old, I experienced my second death-in-the-family.|
|By: Paul S. Cilwa||Occurred: 12/25/1958
||Topics: #Autobiography #Bloomfield #Christmas #NewJersey||Page Views: 3982|
|Spending a winter with grandparents after my father's death.|
My father had passed away, but life goes on. We were at my grandparents' garden apartment in Bloomfield, New Jersey; but it was November and everyone else was in school, so it was lonely during the days. And it was cold, too; so it wasn't much fun to play outside. Still, we did; and I had my first experience getting lost.
Second Grade in New Jersey
|By: Paul S. Cilwa||Occurred: 1/2/1959
||Topics: #Autobiography #EducationMilestone: #Education||Page Views: 5157|
|Picking up where I left off.|
Return to Victory
|By: Paul S. Cilwa||Occurred: 4/27/1959
||Topics: #Autobiography #Vermont||Page Views: 5739|
|The return to our house in Vermont after my father's death.|
By April, Bloomfield's snow had melted. The same was not true in Vermont's Northeast Kingdom. The fields and meadows were laid out in great swaths of white, like a Norse god's formal dinner table. As we reached the unpaved section of the River Road that connected North Concord and Victory, it was clear not even the sturdy Country Squire was going to be able to traverse twenty miles of mud to the house. And so Mom turned around and rented a room in the nearest town of size, St. Johnsbury, to await the break of spring.
|By: Paul S. Cilwa||Occurred: 9/7/1959
||Topics: #Autobiography #EducationMilestone: #Education||Page Views: 3985|
|My continuing education.|
|School:||East Concord Elementary|
|Teacher:||Mrs. Gwen Howe|
Our First Vermont Winter
|By: Paul S. Cilwa||Occurred: 12/25/1959
|Topics: #Autobiography #Christmas #NorthConcord #Val'sMotel #Vermont||Page Views: 5305|
|Reminiscing about Christmas at Val's Motel in North Concord, Vermont, in 1959.|
As a widow with three children, with winter of 1959 approaching, my mom decided we could not remain in our isolated house down 20 miles of snow-covered, gravel road with no telephone. And so she found an "efficiency" apartment available for rent at Val's Motel, about 25 miles from the house, but on a paved highway and with modern conveniences like phone and electricity. She arranged for us to spend the winter there, and brought over enough clothes and cooking utensils to tide us over. Once the snow closed in, we would either have to do without anything we forgot, or buy a new one.
|By: Paul S. Cilwa||Occurred: 6/1/1960
||Topics: #Autobiography #Vermont #Victory||Page Views: 4726|
|How we turned a 100-year-old house into a lovely home.|
Sometime in October or so, when we were still occupying the house in Victory, my penis began to sting when I pee'd. I said nothing, embarrassed that something was wrong "down there" until the pain reached the point I could keep it secret no longer. Mom took me to the emergency room in St. Johnsbury, where we were told I had developed a simple infection from not cleaning myself properly. Mom, it turns out, was supposed to have taught me (from infancy) how to retract the foreskin and wash each day when I bathed. Now, the foreskin had tightened and wouldn't retract. I was given an antibiotic but would have to have "an operation" to prevent a recurrence.
1961: The Beach House
|By: Paul S. Cilwa||Occurred: 10/2/1961
|Topics: #Florida #St.AugustineBeach #Travel||Page Views: 7048|
|Blog Entry posted February 10, 2009|
In the 1920s, my Mom and her mother made several winter trips to St. Augustine, Florida (without her father, who remained in Bloomfield, New Jersey, to work his optometry practice). Mom liked it there, especially the mild winters and laid-back attitude common to many Southern towns of the period.
|By: Paul S. Cilwa||Occurred: 4/1/1961
|Page Views: 1804|
|Informal family portraits.|
We spent the winter of 1960/1961 at Val's Motel in Concord, Vermont. We had become friends with the proprietors so when the snows melted and we were ready to go home, we took pictures with them. And then, again, when we did get home, we took more!
Visiting Grandparents in St Johnsbury
|By: Paul S. Cilwa||Occurred: 6/1/1961
|Page Views: 130|
|Family portraits taken at my grandparents' apartment building.|
After my dad died, my grandparents moved from Bloomfield, New Jersey, where they had lived forever, to St Johnsbury, Vermont, to be closer to us. They moved into a townhouse apartment in a small, four-unit building. Their landlady was Mrs Cox, a widow.
A Visit From The Browns
|By: Paul S. Cilwa||Occurred: 8/3/1961
|Page Views: 1718|
|My mom's cousins descended upon us for a visit.|
My Mom's cousins lived in upstate New York, and one day came for a visit. They were led by Cousin Jairus, who had a terrible allergy to pollen, one so bad we would now call it asthma. But I didn't understand such things, and in any case, no one had warned me. So, when the cousins had arrived, I went into the meadow and gathered a huge armload of goldenrod, and brought it in as a welcome gift.
St. George Street
|By: Paul S. Cilwa||Occurred: 11/1/1961
||Topics: #Autobiography #Florida #St.AugustineMilestone: #Residence||Page Views: 3177|
|The year we moved to St. Augustine, Florida.|
|By: Paul S. Cilwa||Occurred: 6/1/1963
|Topics: #Autobiography #MatanzasCircle #St.Augustine||Page Views: 6171|
|My childhood near-death experience with a rattlesnake.|
I was suddenly startled back to reality, however, by a loud rattling sound directly in front of me. I lowered the script and saw, to my horror, a huge rattlesnake, about four feet in front of me, coiled in strike position.
The Fact of Difference
|By: Paul S. Cilwa||Occurred: 5/18/1964
|Topics: #Autobiography #CivilRights #GayRights||Page Views: 5805|
|Recollections of my personal journey through the minefield of bigotry.|
I saw black people for the very first time when I was about five years old. We lived in New Jersey, and once every few months my parents would go shopping at a department store called "Two Guys." I say my parents went shopping, because they always left my sisters and me in the car for the hour or two they spent inside.
Father's Day Photo Op
|By: Paul S. Cilwa||Occurred: 6/20/1965
||Topics: #Autobiography||Page Views: 2372|
|Pa got the camera, and thought that he'd take pictures of the family.|
Back in the day, holidays were a time to dress up; and dressing up was justification for buying a roll of color film and taking photos of us, dressed up. On Father's Day, 1965, my grandmother crossed the street to the home of the Heitmans, and asked if they would mind taking photos of the family. Of course they didn't mind; and, since it was Father's Day, they were dressed up too and so wound up in one of the photos, too.
My Date With Carla
|By: Paul S. Cilwa||Occurred: 11/23/1968
|Topics: #Autobiography #GulfLifeTower #Rascals #UnionGap #WAPE||Page Views: 2351|
|How I managed to make a spectacle of myself on two separate visits to the Big Coconut.|
Ah, to be young again, and to make ghastly mistakes out of well-meaning naïveté! Like the time I dragged my high school buddy to experience neighboring city Jacksonville, Florida, when I had no idea how to do that myself. And then, to compound the error, I repeated them with my date to the biggest monster concert so far. But perhaps I should start from the beginning.
Flying Saucers I Have Known
|By: Paul S. Cilwa||Occurred: 5/3/1969
||Topics: #AlienAbuduction #Autobiography #UFOs||Page Views: 4074|
|About a couple of weird things that happened near St. Augustine Beach.|
Our neighborhood, while a conventional subdivision, was nevertheless almost as far south as development went on Anastasia Island. Consequently, it was very dark there at night. And several odd occurrences happened to us while we were there.
|By: Paul S. Cilwa||Occurred: 5/31/1969
||Topics: #Autobiography||Page Views: 2547|
|How I avoided being blinded by grain alcohol the night before graduation.|
Being an older teenager is an exciting time yet also terrifying. There are all these new things we're expected to just know about, and we pretend we already do, when in fact it's all new and scary. Sex, dancing, drugs, cigarettes, and, of course, drinking alcohol are all rites of passage through which we must navigate. That's why last night's Class Night party was such an adventure, as I'd been told I would be drinking, whether I wanted to or not.
My First Plane Flight
|By: Paul S. Cilwa||Occurred: 9/19/1969
|Topics: #Autobiography #Florida #Humor #Travel||Page Views: 4367|
|My first flight was rougher than I had expected.|
How in 1969, I managed to embarrass myself and disgrace my family name for generations to come…all during a 20-minute jet flight from Jacksonville to Fort Lauderdale, Florida.
Adam Parker Pye
|By: Paul S. Cilwa||Occurred: 4/1/1971
|Topics: #AdamParkerPye #Autobiography #Florida #Titusville||Page Views: 4932|
|All I know about my high school girlfriend's baby.|
When I was a sophomore in high school, my school, St. Joseph Academy, had both "day" students and "boarding" students. I dated one of the boarders, Marrianne Pye, that year, which was the last St. Joe had boarders. So, after that, I could no longer date her, since she lived in Titusville, Florida, about a 2 hours' drive south of me. But we remained friends, exchanging letters on a monthly basis.
My First Wedding
|By: Paul S. Cilwa||Occurred: 2/14/1972
||Topics: #Autobiography #MaryAnnSteinbergCilwa #WeddingMilestone: #Marriage||Page Views: 4917|
|My first wedding was to Mary Ann Steinberg of St. Augustine, Florida, in February, 1972.|
Our First Apartment
|By: Paul S. Cilwa||Occurred: 2/19/1972
||Topics: #Autobiography #Florida #PalatkaMilestone: #Residence||Page Views: 3955|
|Playing 'Married' at 20 years old.|
|By: Paul S. Cilwa||Occurred: 4/5/1972
||Topics: #Autobiography #PalmCoast||Page Views: 4459|
|My first job after the wedding.|
So Mary and I, and our friend John, settled into our airy single-wide mobile home in Breezy Brae Trailer Park, in Florida. It was the middle of April, 1972. Mary and I had been married for two months. Now all we needed were jobs.
On The Radio
|By: Paul S. Cilwa||Occurred: 6/15/1972
||Page Views: 6082|
|My six months of fame.|
I had always wanted to work at a radio station.
How I Spent My Summer and Fall Co-op Terms
|By: Paul S. Cilwa||Occurred: 12/15/1978
|Topics: #Co-operativeEducationProgram #EnvironmentalProtextionAgency #UniversityofWestFlorida||Page Views: 364|
|This was my term paper for my first two co-operative education terms (spent with the EPA).|
The Co-op Syndrome
|By: Paul S. Cilwa||Occurred: 4/15/1979
|Topics: #Co-operativeEducationProgram #EnvironmentalProtextionAgency #GTETelenet #ProfessionalMicroSystems #QuestSystems #Synchronicity #UniversityofWestFlorida||Page Views: 484|
|This was my term paper for my third co-operative education term (spent with the EPA).|
So here we are again, about to describe what would have been another six months of co-oping in Washington but turned out to be mere three…plus a "real" job at a terrific salary, and a dashing example of what the Co-op program can result in, even in spite of itself…
|By: Paul S. Cilwa||Occurred: 12/25/1991
||Topics: #Autobiography #YearinReview||Page Views: 4059|
|An early Christmas letter.|
As you might recall from last year's letter, January found me job-hunting, just after having moved to Melbourne, Florida. As rough as that was on me, you can imagine how unsettled that left the rest of the family, wondering what state they were going to live in next.
|By: Paul S. Cilwa||Occurred: 12/25/1992
||Topics: #Autobiography #YearinReview||Page Views: 3960|
|A brief overview of the past year.|
This has been a banner year for the Cilwas, in the way that Dan Quayle could be said to have been a remarkable Vice President. The population at 185 Village Circle Way went from a high of 10 people to a low of two.
1993 Year In Review
|By: Paul S. Cilwa||Occurred: 12/1/1993
||Topics: #Autobiography #YearinReview||Page Views: 4120|
|All the things that happened to me in 1993.|
I'm sitting in a motel room in Atlanta, the evening of December 1st, suddenly aware that it's time I put the year in perspective for my annual Christmas letter. It's been a busy year, and a busier last two months, but I'll do what I can.
1994 Year In Review
|By: Paul S. Cilwa||Occurred: 12/4/1994
||Topics: #Autobiography #YearinReview||Page Views: 3957|
|A brief look at how I spent 1994.|
What a year this has been! And how fast it's gone by! It seems like January was just last week, and now it's December. Mary's and my divorce was made final on February 12, 1994—our anniversary. Aren't we lucky to have judges with a sense of humor? But that made it easy to calculate exactly how long we were married: 22 years.
How A Good Boy Went Bad
|By: Paul S. Cilwa||Posted: 8/12/1997
||Topics: #Autobiography #ComputerProgramming||Page Views: 3115|
|How I became a computer programmer.|
1998 Year In Review
|By: Paul S. Cilwa||Occurred: 12/25/1998
||Topics: #Autobiography #YearInReview||Page Views: 3912|
|A brief look at my doings in 1998.|
It is once again that time of year when we wax nostalgic for all our friends and relatives and wish we could have shared more of our year with them
My Big Fat Gay Wedding
|By: Paul S. Cilwa||Occurred: 8/12/2000
||Topics: #Autobiography #Marriage #MichaelManion #Same-SexMarriageMilestone: #Marriage||Page Views: 4751|
|Michael and I were married in the Unitarian Universalist Church of Surprise, AZ on August 12, 2000, at noon, by the Rev. Walt Wieder and the Rev. Surya-Patricia Lane Hood. Feel free to browse our wedding album. You're invited!|
2003: Christmas Dinner
|By: Paul S. Cilwa||Occurred: 12/25/2003
||Topics: #Christmas||Page Views: 4124|
|Photos of the Cilwa/Manion's 2003 Christmas Dinner.|
2003's Christmas Dinner was a relatively small affair. For those of you who missed it, here's what we all looked like.
2005: Merry Christmas
|By: Paul S. Cilwa||Occurred: 12/25/2005
||Topics: #2005 #Christmas #MichaelManion||Page Views: 4115|
|The Cilwa/Manion's 2005 Christmas Letter.|
2005 was another wild wide for the Cilwa/Manion clan. We began the year with Michael attending Glendale Community College as a sophomore, and Paul underemployed at Best Western, still trying to find a position that would make appropriate use of his skill set. Daughter Karen, ex-wife/friend Mary, and grandson Zachary rounded out the household. Paul's Mom, Edna Mae, returned home after a short visit to his sisters in Florida in March. That was expected. But the month before, our son John returned from Iceland, after trying for several years to deal with his increasingly irrational spouse. His son, Max, remains in Iceland, it being very difficult to sue for custody from another country.
Wisdom Teeth and Intelligent Design
|By: Paul S. Cilwa||Occurred: 1/24/2006
||Topics: #Evolution #IntelligentDesign #Science||Page Views: 2343|
|I have a wisdom tooth removed.|
Yesterday afternoon I went to the dentist. More specifically, I went to the Arizona School of Dentistry, where I get cut-rate dental work done by students. This sounds scary, but I had an emergency tooth-pulling done there and it was a lot less painful than the teeth I had pulled when I was in Navy boot camp.
Christmas Wish List
|By: Paul S. Cilwa||Posted: 12/5/2006
||Topics: #Christmas||Page Views: 5803|
|My Christmas wish list for 2006.|
I hate making out these lists. Frankly, it seems like anyone who knows me well enough to be giving me a gift, should know what I might like. However, everyone who does know me, says they need a list. I do have a wish list at Amazon.com:
Christmas Letter 2006!
|By: Paul S. Cilwa||Posted: 12/18/2006
||Topics: #Christmas||Page Views: 4045|
|Our Year In Review: 2006.|
It's time again for your yearly recap of the adventures of the Cilwa-Manions.
Christmas Letter 2007
|By: Paul S. Cilwa||Posted: 12/16/2007
||Topics: #Christmas #Family||Page Views: 4899|
|A recap of the doings of the Cilwa-Manions in 2007.|
For the second year in a row, my annual Christmas letter is being presented as part of my blog. Is this a trend?
Merry Christmas, 2008
|By: Paul S. Cilwa||Posted: 12/10/2008
||Topics: #Christmas||Page Views: 6068|
|A recap of the doings of the Cilwa/Manions in 2008.|
Oh, my, oh my…what an amazingly full year 2008 has been! Complete with cast changes and changes of scene, it seems appropriate at this time of year that I recap the doings of the residents of 10143 East Lobo Avenue and share them with you, our dear friends and extended family.
The House On Natal
|By: Paul S. Cilwa||Occurred: 8/29/2009
||Topics: #9526E.NatalAve. #Arizona #Autobiography #MesaMilestone: #Residence||Page Views: 3880|
|Despite my concern that I would never be able to own a house…I bought a house.|
25 Random Facts About Me, Paul S. Cilwa
|By: Paul S. Cilwa||Occurred: 2/23/2009
||Topics: #Autobiography #Humor||Page Views: 3650|
|More than you're likely to ever want to know.|
It used to take a few weeks for a fad to sweep the nation. "Sorry about that, Chief!" needed at least three episodes of Get Smart! to air before everyone in the country was repeating it. (My mom was still saying it the day she died.)
Going Where No Man Has Gone Before
|By: Paul S. Cilwa||Occurred: 4/11/2009
||Topics: #Colonoscopy #Humor||Page Views: 6108|
|My first colonoscopy.|
Today I had my first colonoscopy. When Mom had her first one, maybe 20 years ago, it was a miserable experience for her, one which not only hurt as it was happening, but for weeks afterwards. People are supposed to have a colonoscopy performed at 50 years of age, which for me was 8 years ago. But Mom's experience caused me to hesitate. Still, we've had a number of family members succumb to colon cancer. So it seemed like I really shouldn't put it off any longer.
Wheel of Seasons
|By: Paul S. Cilwa||Occurred: 9/17/2009
||Page Views: 5300|
|I ponder the changing of the seasons as the temperature drops down to two digits.|
I've lived, now, in three corners of the United States so I guess I'm as qualified as anyone to reflect on the seasons and the difference in how they change. I'm moved to do this now that the days here in Phoenix are cooling in preparation for autumn. Today's high will be "only" 97°F.
Christmas Letter 2009
|By: Paul S. Cilwa||Occurred: 12/15/2009
||Topics: #Autobiography #Christmas||Page Views: 6743|
|Our Christmas Letter for the year to all our friends and family.|
Like you, we at the Cilwa-Manion household are stunned at how quickly this year has flown. Can it really be time for the annual Christmas (excuse us, "Holiday") letter already? Well, it is; so without any further ado let's recap what we've been up to.
|By: Paul S. Cilwa||Posted: 2/24/2010
||Topics: #Autobiography #Toyota||Page Views: 5532|
|In which I show off my place of employment.|
Many of you know that I work at Toyota Financial Services. (At, not for, as I am a consultant.) Partially since Toyota has been in the news lately, and partially because we can't bring in visitors (for safety reasons), and partially because I just moved to a new desk, I thought I would describe my work environment and, in general terms, what I do here.
|By: Paul S. Cilwa||Posted: 3/1/2010
||Topics: #HomeImprovements||Page Views: 564|
|In which we install new lighting in our kitchen.|
Regular readers may recall we moved into a new house…our own house…in October. I've been posting photos of its rooms as we make changes. This weekend we had our friend Greg come over to help put in some new kitchen lights, as well as a few other things.
|By: Paul S. Cilwa||Posted: 3/2/2010
||Topics: #DVDCase #HomeImprovements||Page Views: 524|
|I show off our brand new DVD case.|
Visitors to our new house have been very kind not to look askance at the boxes of DVDs we have had stacked in our family room. I've been collecting DVDs for years, but of course such a collection is only useful if the DVDs in it can be easily accessed at will. In our old house, we had simply stored them alphabetically in a couple of bookcases. But I had a better solution in mind for the new house.
More Home Improvements
|By: Paul S. Cilwa||Posted: 3/22/2010
||Topics: #NatalAvenueHouse||Page Views: 508|
|Michael adds a few more touches to our decor.|
While Jenny, Zach and I were camping, Michael (in between bouts of studying) was adding to the appeal of our mansion, with a little table and a fully-loaded china cabinet.
A Nicer Kitchen
|By: Paul S. Cilwa||Posted: 3/25/2010
||Topics: #NatalAvenueHouse||Page Views: 554|
|Blog Entry posted March 25, 2010, in which we get a new stover and refrigerator.|
When we first moved into the New House, we found kitchen appliances in the stainless steel decor that so many people like. Well, except for the refrigerator, which didn't exist; the previous owners apparently loved it so much they took it with them to Minnesota or wherever the heck they moved to. Which meant that the day we moved in, I had to buy a refrigerator even though I had just spent my last penny on the down payment. But I did, from a guy who advertised on Craig's List. Sadly, the $250 unit I bought didn't work nearly as well in the house as it seemed to in the guy's yard. Thus, Tuesday, I bought a new refrigerator. And then, since I was in the Sears Outlet Store anyway, and had just saved $700 by buying a floor model, I went and bought a new stove, too.
|By: Paul S. Cilwa||Posted: 3/28/2010
||Topics: #NatalAvenueHouse||Page Views: 555|
|Blog Entry posted March 28, 2010, in which we add to the family room, living room, and pool area.|
Since I got back early from my camping trip, Michael suggested I pick up end tables and a coffee table for our still-sparsely-furnished living room. Then, we spent a couple of hours at the swap meet down the street, where Jenny bought new pool furniture. Finally, Jenny and Zach put up the family room curtains, which came with the house but I'd paid $90 to have dry cleaned. So, it's time for a few more house pictures.
Oh, My Arm!
|By: Paul S. Cilwa||Posted: 5/13/2010
||Topics: #Health||Page Views: 5778|
|I whine about my pulled muscle.|
I tore a muscle in my arm two weeks ago in Hawaii. It was almost healed by the past weekend, when I re-tore it on a whitewater rafting trip. Yesterday was my regular visit to my doctor, and I had to explain why my arm looked like someone had backed over it two or three times with the Chrysler.
Enjoying Our Pool
|By: Paul S. Cilwa||Posted: 5/16/2010
||Topics: #NatalAvenueHouse||Page Views: 6212|
|In which we actually get in our pool!|
As you may know, our new (as of October) house includes a pool and today was the first day I actually got to go in it! In addition to Michael and me, and Jenny and Zach, we also had Mary visiting and our son John and his girlfriend Rachel (who will be moving back in with us at the end of the month).
Guns and Roses
|By: Paul S. Cilwa||Posted: 5/31/2010
||Topics: #MemorialDay #NatalAvenue #Zachary||Page Views: 4321|
|Zach shoots his BB gun, I photograph our garden, and we ponder the meaning of Memorial Day.|
What could be more appropriate on Memorial Day, than to send the kids out to do target practice?
The War Between Cats and Dogs
|By: Paul S. Cilwa||Posted: 6/4/2010
||Topics: #Cats #Dogs #NatalAvenue||Page Views: 5616|
|In which we let sleeping dogs (and cats) lie.|
We have two dogs and two cats living with us. All my life, I had heard how cats and dogs despise each other. It's true, one of our cats is rather standoffish and doesn't seem to really like the dogs. But she doesn't like us, or for that matter, the other cat, that much, either. Her name is Cassie and she will let Zachary do absolutely anything to her; but the rest of us see very little of her.
Oh, My Hands!
|By: Paul S. Cilwa||Posted: 6/6/2010
||Topics: #Arizona #Cactus #Tonapah||Page Views: 6031|
|Don't pick up a cactus without gloves, like I did.|
I've lived in Arizona since 1997, and visited here seven times before that. I have seen cacti before. Close-up, even. So you'd think I'd know better than to load up my hands with cactus needles. But, apparently I don't.
Clearing The Air
|By: Paul S. Cilwa||Posted: 6/28/2010
||Topics: #EnvironmentalToxins #NaturalHealth #Toxins||Page Views: 548|
|Blog Entry posted June 28, 2010, in which we change our home's air filters. Who says I don't blog EVERYTHING?!|
Where do you breathe the most toxic air all day long? On the highway? In your office? Getting your nails done? Actually it might indeed be the nail salon, but few people have daily manicures. So the most dangerous place for you to breathe is actually your own home. And, as with all environmental toxins, no individual breath will kill you; it's the cumulative effects of millions of such breaths (plus other toxins) that result in what we call "aging" but is actually just reaction to a toxic body burden in the form of obesity, high blood pressure, cancer, wrinkled skin, and a host of other illnesses.
|By: Paul S. Cilwa||Posted: 8/12/2010
||Topics: #IreneZeigler #MarriageEquality #PastaBrioni #ThePoisonedPen||Page Views: 6042|
|Michael and I celebrate our 10th wedding anniversary.|
Today, Michael and I celebrated our tenth wedding anniversary. For some odd reason, the tenth is supposed to be the "tin" anniversary. That is, we are supposed to receive gifts made of tin. Does anyone make anything of tin anymore? I propose that we officially rewrite the anniversary gift lists and designate the tenth wedding anniversary the Porn Anniversary. By now, that would be a useful gift!
Nancy Drew and the Missing Cell Phone
|By: Paul S. Cilwa||Posted: 10/2/2010
||Page Views: 6602|
|I spend the day trying to locate my cell phone.|
Today I planned to go camping at Lockett Meadow in the San Francisco Peaks, north of Flagstaff. Instead, I spent it trying to locate my lost cell phone. Here's what happened.
Welcome Dish, Goodbye Cox
|By: Paul S. Cilwa||Posted: 10/13/2010
||Topics: #DishNetwork #NatalAvenueHouse||Page Views: 554|
|Blog Entry posted October 13, 2010, in which we switch from cable to satellite TV.|
Today, we said "Hello!" to the Dish Network and "Goodbye!" to Cox cable. My friends are getting a lot of mileage over the unlikelihood of my ever saying goodbye to Cox and I didn't expect it either. My daughter, Jenny, instigated this by virtue of her being the one who pays the cable bill, as part of her contribution to household expenses. She discovered she could reduce our monthly payment by $50 by going with Dish and so, today, it happened.
Uh-oh, I Wet My Cellphone
|By: Paul S. Cilwa||Posted: 10/17/2010
||Topics: #Cellphone||Page Views: 4067|
|Blog Entry posted October 17, 2010, in which I have another cellphone misadventure.|
I do not have a long history of bad luck with cellphones. In fact, they've done pretty well for me. But two weeks ago, one of Zach's friends swiped mine; I got it back, but yesterday I fell into the pool with it. So either my luck has changed for the worse, or it was really time to get a new phone.
Augusta Ranch Picnic
|By: Paul S. Cilwa||Posted: 10/23/2010
||Topics: #NatalAve.House||Page Views: 5823|
|Blog Entry posted October 00, 2010, in which we go to out neighborhood's semi-annual picnic.|
Tonight our homeowner's association held a community picnic. Michael and Zach and I, along with Zach's friend Tyler, attended. (Jenny decided the laundry, and her bed, were more appealing.)
|By: Paul S. Cilwa||Posted: 10/31/2010
||Topics: #Halloween||Page Views: 5621|
|Blog Entry posted October 31, 2010, in which we celebrate our third favorite holiday.|
On the yearly holiday countdown, today is #3: Halloween. And we celebrated over the entire weekend, beginning with an awesome party last night and the candy-ladling tonight.
Christmas Letter, 2010
|By: Paul S. Cilwa||Posted: 12/21/2010
||Topics: #Christmas||Page Views: 6170|
|Blog Entry posted December 21, 2010, in which we attempt to summarize the past year.|
Like you, we are stunned at how quickly this year has flown. Can it really be time for the annual Christmas (excuse us, "Holiday") letter already? Well, it is; so without any further ado let's recap what we've been up to.
|By: Paul S. Cilwa||Posted: 12/27/2010
||Topics: #JasonMilestone: #Relationship||Page Views: 4371|
|I announce a new boyfriend, fiance, and life.|
Oh, My Leg!
|By: Paul S. Cilwa||Posted: 5/4/2011
||Topics: #Flesh-EatingBacteria #Health #NecrotizingFaciitis||Page Views: 9315|
|My near-death experience with flesh-eating bacteria.|
My last blog entry was dated January 7th, and I apologize for that. I didn't die. But, it seems, I came pretty close. Here's what happened.
Jason and Paul's Grand Canyon Wedding
|By: Paul S. Cilwa||Posted: 6/16/2011
||Topics: #Arizona #GayMarriage #GrandCanyon #Jason #MarriageEquality||Page Views: 6679|
|Blog Entry posted June 16, 2011, in which Jason and I marry at the Grand Canyon.|
Today was the day that Jason and I eloped and got married.
|By: Paul S. Cilwa||Posted: 10/25/2011
||Topics: #Jason #OCD||Page Views: 6411|
|in which I discover Jason has OCD.|
As previously documented, I fell in love with a man named Jason and married him in a private sharing of vows at Grand Canyon. In a fairytale world, that would have led to "happily ever after". Sadly, the real world seldom operates that way. And, despite the claims of popular songs to the contrary, sometimes love just ain't enough.
|By: Paul S. Cilwa||Posted: 11/1/2011
||Topics: #Codependency||Page Views: 6075|
|It's time I recognized my role in my past unsuccessful relationships.|
I've just ended my fourth romantic relationship and it's time to look at the role I played in why they didn't work out, as a first step in learning to stop perpetuating this pattern.
|By: Paul S. Cilwa||Posted: 12/30/2011
||Topics: #Christmas||Page Views: 4257|
|In which I review the past, tumultuous year.|
This is the first year, since I started sending Christmas letters in 1976, that I am doing so while living alone. Nevertheless, here is my annual Christmas letter for 2011.
|By: Paul S. Cilwa||Posted: 1/18/2012
||Topics: #Codependency #Jason #OCD #Peoria||Page Views: 5628|
|I explain how Jason and I got back together.|
A glance at the masthead shows that Jason and I are back together. This is what I hoped would happen, though I had no idea if it would, when we broke up.
A Letter To The Court
|By: Paul S. Cilwa||Posted: 2/5/2013
||Topics: #disability #necrotizingfasciitis #SocialSecurity||Page Views: 4770|
|I try to explain to the judge at my hearing why I deserve to be on Social Security Disability.|
I am preparing this statement because my short-term memory loss makes it tricky for me to present a complex train of thought without interruption. I've taken days to write this, but if it will get across to you an accurate understanding of my situation, it will have been worth it.
|By: Paul S. Cilwa||Posted: 4/11/2015
||Topics: #Alcohol #Drugs #Recovery #Risk||Page Views: 4167|
|Taking chances with risks.|
Today's news is, perhaps, not wholly unexpected. I got a text from a friend, that a mutual friend of ours is in the hospital with alcohol-induced hepatitis. In other words, he is dying from continuing to engage in behavior that is generally considered to be risky: Drinking heavily despite constant warnings and cajoling and threats by his loved ones to stop. And it makes us all wonder, why didn't he just stop when he saw it was making him sick?
Farewell, My 2015
|By: Paul S. Cilwa||Posted: 1/5/2016
||Topics: #AnnualLetter||Page Views: 4199|
|A brief review (with lots of photos) to bring you up to date on the year just passed.|
It's been a few years since I've done one of these year-end letters. It's not because I tired of doing them; it's just that I've been recovering from my bout of flesh-eating bacteria from 2011 and, frankly, this is the first time since then I've felt up to doing one.
2016: Year In Review
|By: Paul S. Cilwa||Posted: 12/23/2016
||Topics: #2016InReview #AboutMe||Page Views: 2654|
|All the things that happened to me in 2016.|
Most people, with a few happy exceptions, had a pretty shitty 2016. This is actually something I predicted several years ago, as this is the last year before August 21, 2017, when Earth officially reaches adequate quantum frequency to say we're in 4th Density. Before then, the Darkness will make a last, frantic stab at not disappearing, since Darkness cannot abide the Light of the increasing frequency. However, that said, 2016 did provide many blessings to the Cilwa clan, and to Keith and I in particular…mostly because we made an effort to have a great time!
Our Little Home In Key West
|By: Paul S. Cilwa||Occurred: 3/25/2017
|Topics: #Autobiolgraphy #KeyWest||Page Views: 2477|
|Keith and I will be moving to Key West in October, and this is the place we'll be moving into.|
My daughter, Jennifer, moved to Key West late last year and, as I did some years back when I moved to Arizona and encouraged the rest of the family to join me, Jenny is now encouraging us all to move to Key West. Keith and I both love the Keys, so it wasn't too hard to make the decision. So we picked a place, and got a batch of photos that will have to do since the condo is currently being rented. (It will be available for us to move into in October.)
|By: Paul S. Cilwa||Posted: 4/27/2017
||Topics: #Autobiography #KeyWest #Phoenix||Page Views: 2466|
|Pondering an upcoming residential move.|
It's a small, enclosed patio, a garden, really, though my gardening skills are meager at best and now that I'm recovering from a leg broken in two places, non-existent. Yet it's my favorite part of this condo. It feels so sheltered and safe despite its location in Central Phoenix. There may be crime occurring within a square mile, but here, it's quiet but for the sounds of birds and the hum of distant traffic from the freeway. But nothing is more constant than change, and it appears that Keith and I will be moving to a condo in Key West come October. It too has a porch, overlooking the inner row of condos and, possibly, a glimpse of the Gulf.
|By: Paul S. Cilwa||Occurred: 8/19/2017
||Topics: #Autobiography #KeithJim #Wedding||Page Views: 3589|
|All the photos from my wedding to Keith Jim.|
Oh, joyous day! Today I married my love, Keith Jim, in a small, family ceremony near Sunset Crater, just outside of Flagstaff, Arizona (location chosen because it's between Phoenix, where Keith and I and much of my family live, and Shiprock, New Mexico, where most of Keith's family lives.
|By: Paul S. Cilwa||Posted: 12/24/2017
||Topics: #Christmas||Page Views: 2383|
|2017 was a year filled with endings and beginnings.|
As it was for pretty much everyone, 2017 was a helluva year. We had a wedding but also multiple funerals; moved out of two places and into a new one. So let's get started, shall we?
My 67th Birthday
|By: Paul S. Cilwa||Occurred: 4/8/2018
||Topics: #Autobiography #FamilyGet-Togethers||Page Views: 2137|
|All the photos from my birthday party.|
I made it through another year! And we celebrated at my daughter, Jenny's, home (also known as "The Castle"). In attendance, in addition to myself and Jenny, were my husband, Keith; my co-grandparent Michael; my son, John; Jenny's husband, Jimmy; Jimmy's niece Danielle; and Jenny and Jimmy's babies, Gianna and Dominic. In addition we Facetimed with my daughter Karen. (My other daughter, Dorothy, was at work.)
|By: Paul S. Cilwa||Posted: 12/17/2018
||Topics: #Christmas||Page Views: 2021|
|In which I review the past year.|
2018 was a pleasant year for Keith and me, as we took it easy while I continued healing from the leg break I suffered in 2017. In keeping with that, we went on as many hikes as possible, as well as an excellent vacation in Malibu.